Avoid Workplace Communication Blunders

No matter what you do at work, you spend a lot of time communicating – writing, reading, talking, listening. So, in addition to your job title and responsibilities, you are a Workplace Communicator as well. Major blunders in that process are usually the opposite or absence of these Best Practices:

*  Talk less and listen more. And listen to the words, the tone of voice and the body language delivering those words.

*  Tell less and ask more. Ask good, focused questions to enhance relationships and drill down to causes of problems and best solutions.

*  Be effective, efficient and engaging. Do the right things in the right way and be interesting.

*  Project confidence, credibility and competence. Start with looking and sounding that way because perception is reality. With practice and effort, you will actually become that way.

*  KISS – keep it short and simple. Create short, focused messages rather than broad ones.

*  Make every word count – go beyond the first word you thought of or the word you usually use to the best word you can think of to convey a specific meaning to a specific person or group.

*  Err on the side of over-communicating important messages to important people.

*  Communicate with ‘Uncommon Courtesy’. Ask ‘Is this a good time?’ at the beginning of a conversation. Indicate up front where possible the purpose of an interaction and intended outcomes.

*  When dealing with conflict, strive to understand first. Then, make sure you’re understood. Focus on common ground to find solutions you can both live with.

*  Ask for validation‘Does this make sense?’ or ‘Does this work for you?’

*  Summarize the conversation, especially in writing. Helps to avoid ‘I think I understand what I thought I heard you say but I’m not sure if what I thought you heard you say is what you really meant.’

So, avoid most workplace communication blunders by consistently using some of the above best practices in each situation. Work hard every day to earn your spot on the Varsity Workplace Communication Team – it will be worth your effort and investment of time.